By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network
NEW YORK (IDN) — Thione Ballago Seck, born in a family of praise or “griot” singers and one of Senegal’s beloved music stars over the last four decades, has died at the age of 66 in Dakar on March 14.
Tributes poured in after his death was announced with the former mayor of Dakar, Khalifa Sall, paying tribute to a “true monument of Senegalese music”. El Hadji Hamidou Kasse, a former journalist and current advisor to President Macky Sall, tweeted that Seck was “one of the artist heroes of an era”.
“He died this morning of an illness at the University Hospital Fann,” lawyer Ousmane Seye told the French news agency AFP, confirming reports in the Senegalese media.
Thione Ballago Seck rose to fame, alongside Youssou Ndour, Omar Pene, Ismael Lo and his own son, Wally Seck, with his unique voice.
His Twitter fans cited his legendary status as a student of the Koran, respected for his knowledge of its parables and proverbs. At the same time, he had a secular musical following as he sang with the Star Band of Dakar and as a lead singer with Orchestra Baobab.
He wrote one of the group’s biggest hits ‘Mohamadou Bamba’ —a hauntingly beautiful reference to Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba, a Sufi saint, founder of the Mouride Brotherhood and leader of a pacifist struggle against French colonialism.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Seck was one of the creators of mbalax, one of Senegal’s most popular musical styles.
Seck’s album Orientation featured 40 North African, Arab, and Indian musicians, playing diverse instruments and creating a fusion of styles.
The singer’s last years were marred by a long-running legal scandal involving counterfeit cash. He was detained for nine months ahead of a trial, but all charges were later dropped.
To Thoine Seck. Repose en paix. [IDN-InDepthNews – 15 March 2021]
Image: Thione Seck. Source: archyde.com
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